Intel Beats Earnings Estimates for the Third Quarter
Semiconductor industry behemoth Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC – $32.37) reported somewhat mixed results for the third quarter. Share net of $0.64 was a nickel better than analysts anticipated, though it fell a tad shy of the year-earlier tally by a penny. What’s more, revenues came in at $14.465 billion, which was above estimates of $14.24 billion. On the positive side, Data Center Group revenues increased 8% sequentially and 12% relative to last year, to $4.1 billion. Too, the Internet of Things climbed 4% and 10%, on a sequential and year-over-year basis, respectively, from a small base, to $581 million. Software and services revenues improved 4% sequentially, though they were flat compared with last year. On the other hand, Client Computing Group revenues were down 7% relative to last year, though they increased 13% from the second quarter. The company’s expectations for the December period were on par with most estimates. The top line ought to come in at $14.8 billion, plus or minus $500 million, and if gross margins approximates 62%, per share net would be $0.60. One area of concern remains the Server segment. During its third-quarter conference call, management noted that lower corporate demand for server chips ought to constrain results in this business in 2015. Many companies are outsourcing an increasing percentage of their technology requirements overseas and, therefore, don’t need to buy as many servers. However, Intel is reasonably confident that this unit’s revenues will rise 15% next year after a presumptive low double-digit gain in 2015. Though the Data Center and Internet of Things units should show strong gains, their climb rate will likely be less than earlier expectations this year, reflecting macroeconomic headwinds. Intel’s fortunes for the long haul depend on its ability to extend its reach beyond the mature personal computer segment and into mobile, tablet and server businesses. The recent announcement of an agreement to purchase industry peer Altera Corp. is a step in the right direction. Altera is a global leader in high-density programmable logic devices and associated computer aided engineering logic development tools that offer on-site programmability to customers. Altera serves a broad range of market segments, including telecommunications, data communications, computers and industrial applications and should provide Intel with highly needed diversification. There can be further bolt-on acquisitions down the road, given Intel’s strong financial position. The shares, yielding nearly 3%, have been relatively strong over the past month and long-term total returns can be enticing, assuming INTC succeeds in its expansion efforts.